Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 13:2 – Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! (NLT)
To help or not to help, that was the question.
He stood at a busy intersection, holding a sign that we couldn't read. Although the town where we live is modest in size, recently we've seen more homeless and indigent people standing on corners in and around our local restaurants and retailers.
As we pulled from one parking lot after our meal, my wife and I strained our necks but couldn't read his sign. After visiting the pharmacy to pick up medicine, we passed the man again on our way home.
"I'm gonna circle around to see what the sign says," my wife remarked.
I was glad. Of late, we've been paying it forward. Perhaps, this was another opportunity. We neared the gentleman, but noticed that he didn't look like other people that we'd seen requesting help.
The man's sign read, "Trying desperately to help my family. Waiting on my disability check." He didn't appear disabled, but then again, many who are don't. We pulled to the stop sign next to him. My wife said nothing.
"What do you think?" I finally asked.
"I don't feel the tug," she said. And we drove on.
God places opportunities in our path on a regular basis — more if we'll ask Him, too. But we can't take advantage of every good opportunity, nor does God expect us to. I'm not a wealthy man. Even Jesus, with all of heaven's riches at His disposal, didn't heal every sickness or meet the needs of every person who wanted His help. There were times when He left the crowds to pray to His heavenly Father or to move to another region.
Knowing which helping opportunity God wants us to take advantage of takes prayer. This helps us to look and listen with spiritual eyes and ears. We must ask God to send the opportunities, but we must also ask Him to let us see them. Busyness and selfishness cause us to miss them.
The tug that my wife mentioned is what we refer to as God's Spirit. We both feel it when it's an opportunity that God wants us to take. It's an overwhelming pressure to intervene — a feeling of guilt when we let the opportunity slip by.
Let's ask God to show us the situations in which He wants us to intervene. We can't do it all, but we can do something.
Prayer: Father, guide us to those people and situations where You want us to help. Amen.